A hunk- a hunk a’burning love…or something like that.
For as long as I can remember- which as a fifty-four-year-old-woman can be sketchy at times- I have dealt with periods of ebb and flow in different areas of my life; my weight (ooh, that flow), my focus, my determination. Hmmm. Cancel that ‘determination’ part, as I stay determined…it’s just that sometimes I seem determined to defeat myself with good ‘ol Southern woman self sabotage.
All this to say that I think I may be embarking yet again on an upswing of sorts, and it may all be because of an egg roll from Hunan Wok’s take out (stay with me- I’ll explain in a minute.) After a tough few months physically an emotionally, the clouds seem to be lifting a bit. School is busy but going well, I’m feeling good about the direction my playing is going, and I have begun to feel that (not-too) old urge to spring out of bed at chicken-thirty to exercise before heading into school. Hallelujah! It’s always good to know that I won’t be a stunt double for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape anytime soon.
My weight has always been a challenge; Mom did the best she could, but I grew up on a Southern cuisine based on what was the cheapest at the grocery store, and what would last the longest…potatoes, and lots of them, cooked every way you can imagine. I battled anorexia and bulimia in my twenties, and have been on every diet known to womankind, many I’d like to forget (Carbs, I will never forsake you again!). Last April’s hysterectomy laid me low for a while with my exercise plan, and I think some part of me began to give up, thinking I would never get my body back. That is, until the egg roll.
Dan’s recent knee surgery and my return to long hours at school have made dinnertime a challenge (I am always challenged where cooking is concerned). This particular day had been brutal, and when I came in exhausted at dinnertime, Dan invoked the blessed words, “Let’s just call for Chinese tonight.”
We knew Hunan Wok was having issues when they told us it would be an hour and a half instead of the usual fifteen to twenty minutes. We waited and waited, and finally the doorbell rang. A heavier middle-aged gentleman stood there looking like he’d just climbed Mount Everest, and he might as well have having walked up the thirty-six steps from the street to our house. In his hand he clutched a brown bag stained with grease, and I managed to pry it from his hands as he told me he didn’t know if he could get back down those stairs and began a long conversation about his friends in our neighborhood as our dinner continued to cool in that brown bag. I listened patiently until my stomach growled loudly, then gently told the man to have a nice evening and be careful on the stairs, tipping him well for his trouble. He stared wistfully into the sunporch, and I really think he wanted to join us for dinner. My neighborhood is one strange place.
Finally, dinner! I fixed plates for us and we sat down to eat. What was usually wonderfully cooked Chinese food (for take-out), was pretty sub-par, and the egg roll had the texture of a tennis ball, hard and chewy. Neither Dan nor I finished, and I began to feel gross after putting what I did of the food into my body.
And then it happened, an epiphany of sorts; I decided that at fifty-four I don’t really need to eat like an errant teenager anymore; that I don’t feel good when I eat egg rolls that taste like uncooked, chewy tennis ball gut bombs, and that I was tired of feeling uncharacteristically lethargic. That maybe (Ding Ding Ding!), if I focused on eating better and getting back into my regular daily exercise routines that I’d be able to tackle all of the exciting things ahead. How great would that be?
I’m a big believer in acting my way into a new way of thinking. I threw the rest of the Chinese food away, and have gotten up at chicken-thirty every morning to exercise before heading into school. Fixing the food issue will be more complex, but I am working on it. I am never going to look like a swimsuit model- never have, never will; that’s not what this is about. I just want to feel good in my skin.
Contrary to what society tells fifty-something women, I really feel that some of the best years of my life are ahead, and I want to be strong and healthy to be able to enjoy every moment. I’m also not going to let a few extra pounds and a bad back get in my way. Now…where’s my Bio-Freeze- let’s get this party started!